The United States reaffirmed its defense commitments to the Philippines after Chinese coastguard vessels were accused of firing water cannons against Philippines resupply boats in the disputed South China Sea. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States has pledged to stand with its treaty ally, the Philippines, and warned China that any “armed attack on Philippine public vessels” in the disputed sea would invoke the U.S. mutual defense commitments. China’s action “escalates regional tensions, infringes upon freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as guaranteed under international law and undermines the rules-based international order,” Price said in a statement on Nov. 19. He urged China not to interfere with the Philippines’ lawful activities in its exclusive economic zone. The Philippines has previously condemned the actions of three Chinese coastguard vessels, which it said had blocked and fired water cannons on two of its supply boats transporting food to …


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